How Do You Determine Whether or Not an Injury Claim Is Viable?
The short answer is: call a skilled trial lawyer. And if you don’t like the answer you get, call another skilled trial lawyer. If they agree, then you have your answer. If they disagree, then get one more opinion.
Good lawyers will not be interested in a frivolous case. Good lawyers will not be interested in suing for your medical bills. And good lawyers will not be interested in a dubious claim to see what the other side will pay. Good plaintiffs’ trial lawyers believe in what they do; they believe in their clients; and they believe in using jury trials to obtain justice.
Viable claims exist when liability or fault can be established and when the damages warrant the investment of time, money and effort to pursue a case. At Casper & de Toledo, we do not take injury claims that we would not be willing to litigate.
In the context of a motor vehicle collision, Connecticut is a pure tort state. That means that anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident, the cause of which is to a negligent act or omission, is entitled to pursue a claim for damages. Assuming that the owner of the vehicle operated by the negligent driver complied with the mandatory insurance requirements, the insurance company that insured that vehicle will address resolving the claim. An injury would have to be of sufficient severity for Casper & de Toledo to consider the claim as being economically viable, and more modest claims would likely be handled by one of our more junior lawyers. Clearly, the more serious the injury, the greater the likelihood we would find that potential claim to be economically viable.
For example, let us suppose I have a case that I believed was a good or decent liability case, but the police report suggested otherwise. It would just be a matter of my view being different than the investigating police officer, who may or may not be trained to perform an accident reconstruction. In this case, it would be likely for the case to get put into suit earlier than if the case came in and there was no question of liability.
The fact there was a difference of opinion about the liability part of the case would suggest that the insurance company would be likely to embrace what was in the police report more than objectively looking at what truly happened.
I would be more inclined to put the case in sooner rather than later if the injuries were the kind that would take longer than other types of injuries to run through the course of recovery so they would reach the point of maximum medical improvement.
I handle a great number of cases involving children with brain injuries. Connecticut does not have a statute of repose, where we could delay bringing that lawsuit because a child has not reached the age of majority.
I have to be mindful that the typical statute of limitations in Connecticut for something like a fall or a motor vehicle accident is two years, so I would probably delay close to that two-year mark because with children, the ramifications of brain injury would not fully blossom or appear until later as opposed to earlier.
I would try to buy as much time as possible, without having the artificial pressure of bringing a case into the courthouse and reaching a trial date. I would be more inclined to try to get an extra year or so before that trial date was reached so that the full manifestation of the injuries would be apparent.
Should the case needed to be brought in different venues within the State of Connecticut, I would be able to more or less identify which courthouses would be friendlier, or which would be less or more lenient in regards to actually bringing a case to trial, if there were ongoing treatment or if there were an issue with a child needing further evaluation. One particular courthouse shows very little concern in situations like that, whereas other courthouses with a presiding judge are very sympathetic to these types of situations. A variety of factors would need to be considered about when a case should actually be put into suit, and that would really have to be done on a case by case basis.
Do People Underestimate the Claims Process and How Difficult It Might Be?
Yes, I think so. The claims process can be widely variable and, to a great extent, can depend upon the severity of the injury. It [the process] can also depend on the amount of insurance coverage involved.
The victim might have a very severe injury with a limited amount of insurance involved because that “at fault” party had limited insurance coverage. This can actually make a claim much simpler because there is less at stake. Cases involving significant injuries requiring a prolonged recuperation and a large amount of insurance coverage can be very complex and time consuming. To maximize recovery, many steps are generally required to properly work up and document the claim for damages.
For more information on Deciding Whether a Case Is Viable, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (203) 325-8600 today.